Google Ventures Invests in Silver Spring's Smart Grid Technology

silverspring

Silver Spring Networks, a flush smart metering company, is one of Google's first investments in its newly-created venture fund. The company develops networking boards for power meters that monitor and curb electricity consumption. Silver Spring's boards also monitor gas and water consumption, and help utilities provide smart meter demand and response information for customers.

So far, Silver Spring has gathered nearly $150 million in funds, and even had to turn away investment cash recently. That makes it a relatively safe bet for Google, especially since the smart grid company already has 500,000 homes in its network and a contract with Pacific Gas and Electric for millions of smart meters in Northern California. 

Google won't disclose the size of its investment in Silver Spring, but it is probably sizable considering Google's own entrance into the smart grid game with PowerMeter.

This isn't Google's first investment in renewable energy projects, though it is the first to be funded through Google Ventures. The company previously invested in Enhanced Geothermal Systems technology, solar thermal company eSolar, electric car maker Aptera, and a wind company called Makani Power.

None of these investments, though, are as surefire as Silver Spring. By investing in a company like Silver Spring, that got in on the industry's ground floor, Google ensures its own future in the smart metering world.

Related: Google PowerMeter Gets Smart to Go Green
Related: Google Amasses $100 Million For Start-Up Venture Fund

[Via Earth2Tech]

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1 Comments

  • Robb Henshaw

    This is great news for Silver Spring, and for the industry as a whole. Google continues to validate the smart grid and energy monitoring market, first with its introduction of PowerMeter, and now it has validated smart meters and the smart grid. With PowerMeter, Google has validated the valuable role of energy monitoring in empowering end users with the information they need to take control of their personal energy consumption. With the investment in Silver Spring, it has also thrown its weight behind the smart metering business as well.

    While smart meters and the smart grid are a great step towards more efficient, integrated utilities delivery, we need to keep in mind that this is not the end game.

    While the smart grid is certainly more efficient, it is still a separate walled garden that does not integrate with important services, such as renewable energy. Eventually, the smart grid will need to evolve and embrace the openness of renewable energy systems, which already have the capabilities to sync and integrate with many other renewable energy systems via open energy management solutions.

    I work with Fat Spaniel -- www.fatspaniel.com -- one of the companies that designs these open energy management platforms. We're already working with thousands of energy systems across more than 15 countries to help them monitor and manage all of their renewable energy systems from one central platform. This increases the efficiency, performance and production of these systems significantly.

    And now we're working with leaders in smart grid technology, too, to help move the industry forward. We look forward to the day where the walls are broken down between traditional utilities and renewable energy systems, so that all can be managed and monitored via one integrated platform -- which will not only maximize the production and efficiency of these systems, but also make them far more cost effective.

    And that's the final point I think we all need to keep in consideration -- how do we achieve great systems like these in a cost effective manner? In today's economic climate, and with significant amounts of stimulus money being proposed for the advancement of these projects, it is no longer enough just to be green. We need to be able to pair eco responsibility with fiscal responsibility, and open energy monitoring helps achieve that.